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Br J Surg. 1984 Jan;71(1):17-20.

Local recurrence following 'curative' surgery for large bowel cancer: II. The rectum and rectosigmoid.


1988 patients with an adenocarcinoma of the rectum (1292; 65 per cent) or rectosigmoid (696; 35 per cent) have been studied. A resection (1700 patients) or polypectomy (124 patients) was performed in 1824 (92 per cent) and, of the former, 1376 patients either underwent abdominoperineal (AP) excision of the rectum (788 patients) or an anterior resection (598 patients). The in-hospital mortality was 63 patients (8 per cent) for AP and 44 (7 per cent) for anterior resection, and a curative resection had been performed in 504 (71 per cent) of those undergoing an AP, and 393 (71 per cent) of those undergoing an anterior resection. Follow-up information is available for 478 patients (95 per cent) who underwent an AP and 370 (94 per cent) who underwent an anterior resection. More patients have developed a local recurrence after an anterior resection (67; 18 per cent) than after AP (57; 12 per cent) (Logrank chi2 = 6.6, d.f. = 1, P less than 0.02) (stratified for sex and Dukes' stage). This difference is not accounted for by a lesser margin of distal clearance after an anterior resection; firstly because the margin of clearance was not different in those who did and those who did not develop a local recurrence (AP: whole group = 4.4 cm, local recurrence = 4.5 cm; anterior resection: whole group = 3.0 cm, local recurrence = 3.1 cm) and secondly because for each centimetre of distal clearance there was a consistently greater probability of recurrence for anterior resection (Logrank chi2 = 9.1, d.f. = 1, P less than 0.01) (stratified for sex, Dukes' stage and distal clearance margin).

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